ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 10, 2020) – The following statement may be attributed to LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund (AKF):
A year after President Trump signed the Executive Order to launch the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) underscores the urgency of making kidney disease — the fastest-growing noncommunicable disease in America — a national health priority. The impact of COVID-19 on kidney patients has brought into sharp focus the need for a sustained effort to change the trajectory of kidney disease in the United States.
AKF is committed, now more than ever, to fighting on all fronts on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk.
The Advancing American Kidney Health initiative's goals align with priorities AKF has been working on for years: keeping Americans with chronic kidney disease off dialysis longer, making significantly more transplants available, and preventing more people from ever developing kidney disease in the first place.
AKF has run the nation's largest free kidney health screening program for years, and in 2019 we launched a national educational campaign, Know Your Kidneys, to empower people to prevent or slow down the progression of kidney disease. Our Kidney Health Coach program trains peer-to-peer coaches to teach members of their families and their communities how to prevent kidney disease.
Additionally, our robust public policy agenda includes working at both the state and federal levels to pass legislation to remove barriers to living organ donation, which would help to increase the number of kidney transplants available from living donors. In 2019, we were successful in helping pass legislation in nine states, and so far this year two state legislatures have passed similar legislation. Our charitable premium assistance program makes possible an average of more than 100 kidney transplants each month for low-income dialysis patients.
As COVID-19 shifts national priorities, we also launched the Coronavirus Emergency Fund to provide a lifeline to low-income dialysis and transplant patients while continuing to engage with policymakers to ensure the needs of kidney patients are considered in coronavirus emergency orders and legislation and to address the stark disparity of COVID-19's impact on racial and ethnic minorities and kidney patients.
In support of the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative and COVID-19 response, AKF welcomes the Administration's efforts to address the public health crisis that is kidney disease.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.